Thursday, March 21, 2013

It's Potty Time!!

Many years ago when I was working in the infant room at a childcare center, I was fortunate enough to assist an amazing teacher named Pushpa.  Pushpa is Nepalese and she taught me things about children, education and life that no American I knew could have.  For some reason, a story she once told me about flying to the U.S. from Nepal with her 9 month old son has always stuck in my head.  She spoke of how her son was already 'potty trained' and flew the whole way with just one 'accident'.  I haven't been able to shake the idea of an infant being able to comprehend the concept of waste elimination since then.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant with Salem , the notion of infant potty training immediately came back to the forefront of my mind.  Being the self-learner that I am, I set out to research this idea.  What I found was a real eye-opener and I realized just how brainwashed we are here in the states.  All around the world people practice what many Americans refer to as, Elimination Communication (EC). 

"Elimination communication (EC) is a practice in which a caregiver uses timing, signals, cues, and intuition to address an infant's need to eliminate waste. Caregivers try to recognize and respond to babies' bodily needs and enable them to urinate and defecate in an appropriate place (e.g. a toilet). Caregivers may use diapers (nappies) as a back-up in case of misses some or all of the time, or not at all. EC emphasizes communication between the caregiver and child, helping them both become more attuned to the child's innate rhythms and control of urination and defecation. The term "elimination communication" was inspired by traditional practices of diaper-less baby care in less industrialized countries and hunter-gatherer cultures.[1] Some practitioners of EC begin soon after birth, the optimum window being zero to four months,[2] although it can be started with babies of any age. The practice can be done full-time, part-time, or just occasionally."

Having a 'diaper-free' baby sounded like a daunting task, but I was up to it.  After Salem was born, I was all gung ho about getting Salem to use the toilet as early as possible.  I soon realized that it wasn't quite as simple as everything I had read made it sound.  With lots of practice, tons of mistakes, some time and finally allowing myself to relax a bit, we found a way that worked for us.  From birth to about six months, I would simply allow Salem some diaper-free time on a waterproof mat and occasionally set him on a little potty.  Once he could sit up on his own, I started to just sit him on the itty bitty toilet during diaper changes.  Then one day he started to pee in said toilet.  A few days later he pooed in it. Soon he started to make a conscious effort to 'hold it' and communicate with me when it was time to go.  Needless to say, I was ecstatic! After that first poo in the pot, Salem never looked back and I can count the number of dirty diapers I had to change from then on on one hand. He has been out of diapers (except overnight) since around 18 months.*
These are the embarrassing pictures that I will dutifully show my children's future dates.

Now it's Piper's turn and I am proud to announce she has taken to her tiny pot just as quickly as Salem did.  I will spare you the details, but she is equally as impressive as her brother was!  I have read/heard that girls are easier to potty train than boys, so maybe our Piper will be done with the diaper even earlier!  

* Although he has been diaper free during the day for over a year, there have been occasional accidents during nap time.


Katie said...

I would have never heard of that but your sister told me you did it w/ Salem. That's great! And, until now, it never occurred to me other countries were already doing this. Cool info!
Cute photos!

Michael and Hannah said...

SO impressive!!! I've heard of this type of potty training, but only known of one other friend that has tried it. I officially find you intimidating. ;o)